ATA Asks PHMSA to Block Roadside Hazmat Package Inspections

Mar 09, 2011, 09:10 ET from American Trucking Associations

ARLINGTON, Va., March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Trucking Associations asked the Obama administration to prevent the opening and inspection of hazardous materials shipments along the roadside, unless it is believed the shipment poses an imminent danger or does not comply with the hazardous materials regulations.


In a petition filed March 7 with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, ATA asked the agency to "clarify" its rules regarding the opening and inspecting of hazmat packages by state law enforcement officers.

"ATA supports PHMSA's existing authority to require motor carriers to make records, equipment, packagings and containers available for inspection," ATA Vice President and Regulatory Counsel Rich Moskowitz wrote. "Unfortunately, [that authority] is being interpreted in a manner that frustrates the safe and efficient transportation of hazardous materials."

Moskowitz told PHMSA that the agency's rules are currently being interpreted, despite numerous regulatory clarifications discouraging the practice, to allow for the unloading and inspection of hazmat packages during roadside inspections.

By specifying that most package inspections should occur at the point of loading or unloading, ATA said PHMSA could "improve the roadside inspection procedures, and avoid unnecessary delays and the additional handling of hazardous materials packages . . .  while assuring the preservation of a robust hazardous materials transportation inspection authority for authorized representatives of the Department of Transportation."

The American Trucking Associations ( is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States. Follow ATA on Twitter @TruckingMatters (, or become a fan on Facebook (

SOURCE American Trucking Associations